Who is Leading the Mets Center Field Race?

After two weeks of spring training games, there may be a leader in the open competition for Mets starting center fielder.

As of right now, I anoint Jordany Valdespin as the frontrunner of the Mets center field race. This based purely on fan reaction collected over the last 24 hours from various Mets blog comments sections (not including this one), and, I imagine, is rooted from Valdespin’s third homerun of spring training — blasted off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Because of course, anyone who can hit a homer off Verlander must be a future star.

Never mind that Verlander could have been working on a new pitch, or didn’t quite have his heart in a game that means nothing to him in early March. This is the rollercoaster ride known as Mets fandom.

I don’t mean to undermine ‘spin’s accomplishment. He’s doing well thus far, both at the plate and in the field. Rather, I find it amusing to watch the wild, emotional swings taken by Mets fans from one day to the next.

About a month before camp opened, there was a fairly significant consensus of fans who believed Nieuwenhuis was far and away the answer in center field. According to most, he played Gold-Glove defense and would hit at least .280-.290, with power — some suggested 25 homeruns was not out of reach. By the end of February, however, the darling became Collin Cowgill, who was certain to become the next Lenny Dykstra. Cowgill, I read from various comments sections, was an on-base machine who could steal 40 bases and hit 15-20 homers at the big-league level — all he needed was an opportunity to play. But before I knew it, Matt Den Dekker had made a spectacular catch in a ballgame, and suddenly his superior defense — most insisted his glove was as good as any current MLB center fielder — would be greatly valued and important to helping support the young Mets pitching prospects.

Then Valdy went and hit that homer off Verlander to send Den Dekker back to the end of the line.

I imagine this is the way it’s going to go for the next three weeks; someone makes a great catch, a spectacular throw, goes 4-for-4, or hits a dramatic homer, and he’ll be the new Opening Day center fielder. Of course, not all Mets fans are this rash, and one can understand how a fan might get wrapped up in the excitement. We’ve all been waiting many cold months for baseball to return, and what else is there to get excited about in regard to the Mets? We knew before camp opened that phenoms Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler would be held back due to the arbitration clock, and though there’s a similarly wide open competition for bullpen spots, well, one can only be excited about the “Bobby Parnell as closer” story so many springs in a row before it begins to sound like The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Mets fans will be Mets fans, and have every right to be. What I wonder is how much the “what have you done for me lately?” question affects the Mets coaching staff. More specifically, will the center field job go to the player who looks the best all-around during the entire spring, or might Terry Collins and his cohorts be strongly influenced by the player who wows them in the final days of March? Timing is everything, after all, and memories tend to be short. This is the conundrum of a spring-long audition — do you go with the guy you think is going to be the right one long-term, or do you go with the hot hand, hoping he’ll carry the momentum north and help the team to a fast start out of the gate? There are good arguments for both sides.

As part of the Sweet Spot Network, last week I was tasked with submitting the Mets’ projected lineup for an ESPN piece. Do you know how hard it was to try to project the Mets’ outfield? Of course you do, you’re paying attention. In the end I settled on Collin Cowgill in center field, leading off. I’m not sure that’s the way things will shake out — it was based somewhat on non-scientific guesswork and mostly on picking a name out of a hat.

As of today, Valdespin could be the leader. By the end of the week, maybe it’s Cowgill. Perhaps Captain Kirk will reclaim the position once he returns from injury. Heck, maybe Mike Baxter will come out of nowhere and steal center field from all of them.

What’s your thought? Who is leading the Mets center field race as of today? Who will be standing in center field on Opening Day? And how would YOU make the final choice? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. tom p March 12, 2013 at 10:39 am
    Cannot look at CF alone, it has to be who is in the outfield. Cowgill is more suited for the position. Spin can be the fourth outfielder / back up infielder. If anyone is slow out of the gate he will get plenty of playing time.
    • Joe Janish March 12, 2013 at 11:29 am
      Unless he slumps miserably, I’d have to think Lucas Duda is penciled in to LF. The RF spot goes either to Marlon Byrd or whomever loses in the CF competition.

      I think what happens in CF significantly influences who is in RF, and, if Duda stumbles, who is in LF.

      But, if we want to look at the entire outfield as an open competition — and that might technically be the more correct thing to do — wow, this situation is much scarier.

  2. danXtanna March 12, 2013 at 11:25 am
    I have been saying well before ST started that the optimal OF for the Mets would be Cowgill-Dekker-Kirk. But, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them trade Murphy for an OF as ST winds down here. Then Valdespin slots in at 2B where he is most comfortable. He is not an OF, he can play it because he is so athletic, but that is not where he should be IMO.
    • Walnutz15 March 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm
      Which is interesting, considering as we stand right now – neither den Dekker, nor Nieuwenhuis should really be in the running to break camp with the club.

      – den Dekker’s not even on the 40-Man right now, in addition to the problems he’s having handling Major League pitching.

      Don’t get me wrong: I’ve liked den Dekker as much as anyone from the time he was at Florida, but at this point – I don’t think we’ll be seeing him break camp with the club, and he shouldn’t.

      Like Nieuwenhuis, he’s very weak vs. LHP – and is prone to striking out alot. (Have seen a few sweet plays from him…..but that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to his outfield “d”. A known quantity for awhile….even to the most casual of fans by now.)

      – Nieuwenhuis should probably stay back for some Extended ST until the knee’s 100% – because I’m not certain that he didn’t do a little more than just bruise it. If they were saying it felt “loose” prior to the MRI, then it’s really not going to be a situation where he’s going “all out” in the final couple weeks of camp.

      ………at least it shouldn’t be, given he’s only resuming baseball activities tomorrow – and not game situation. He wasn’t even hitting while healthy.

      RE: Valdespin

      I have no problem with him breaking camp with the club (even playing some 2B), so long as he’s still swinging a hot bat. He’s probably going to be a freak show in CF, but it’s not like he’s some kind of grizzled outfield vet. Realistically speaking, the guy just got introduced to the OF last season.

      Otherwise, he’s got speed and some pop — so if he’s not swinging out of his shoes every AB, I’m good with the roster presence at least.

      I’d go:

      Duda (LF) – hitting much better since everyone looked to bury him off a handful of rusty AB’s

      Cowgill/Byrd* (CF)

      Baxter/Byrd* (RF)

      *w/Byrd in the roving “Gary Matthews Jr.” role

      I’d also look to carry Zach Lutz over a guy like Justin Turner. We know what he is at this point, no matter how much the locker room likes him/good he is at making shaving cream pies.

      • danXtanna March 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm
        Nuts you have to get over Lucas Duda…It is not bashing hte guy it is freaking reality. it is not like this is a young kid trying to find his way. He will turn 28 this summer.

        What is the teams strength? pitching right? I would say that is safe to assume. So when you have a group of players who are really all in the same group offensively. Then to me it makes much more sense to go w/ the best defense you have to support your pitching staff.

        • Walnutz15 March 13, 2013 at 7:44 am
          I’m not “on” Lucas Duda. You were leading the charge in attempting to bury him over 7 spring training AB’s, mulds.

          It’s blatantly obvious that the Mets are going to go with him until he flames out, provided he does.

          A lineup completely devoid of any pop, sans Wright and Davis needs a guy like this to come through — and while I have no idea whether he’ll step up or not…..they need to give him the opportunity, especially playing a less demanding outfield position than RF @ Citi.

          …..a position he’s played before in college, and won’t be learning on the fly, like last year in right.

          There’s no way den Dekker will break camp with the club. That’s reality.

        • Lucas Duda's Mom March 15, 2013 at 9:30 am
          “He will turn 28 this summer.”

          Lukie just turned 27 his birthday is in February and he’s an Aquarius.


  3. Feech March 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm
    I think the OF is very likely to be Duda in LF, Cowgill in CF, and Byrd in RF – with frequent substitutions by Spin and Baxter.

    I think Captain Kirk will definitely begin the season on the DL or in the minors.

    Dan Dekker (MDD) will begin the season in the minors.

    Reason I think the above – the Mets are still enticed by Duda’s 2011 performance and want to give him another chance to repeat it.

    I think Byrd has hit well and is the only guy out there with a proven track record – but is he finished? Mets will give him a ride if he does well this spring.

    I think Cowgill has impressed with the hustle, speed, and defense -MDD is similar, but has (1) no major league experience, (2) minor league options, and (3) struck out a ton in AA, and has no AAA experience.

    I really think this will the OF composition at the start of the season – although it could change very quickly if one or more of the guys on the ML team piss the bed and the guys in the minors (Kirk and MDD) tear it up.

    • Joe March 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm
      Good analysis.
    • Dave In Spain March 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm
      MDD DOES have AAA experience(295 ABs), and his K problems were not so pronounced at AA. Yes, he had K problems at AAA.
    • Larry March 13, 2013 at 10:34 am
      I think Duda was fine until Collins and Hudgens started talking about how he should pull more and use his natural power. They did the same thing to Josh Thole and look how well that worked out. A guy with confidence issues like Duda couldn’t handle the constant criticism from the Manager and Hitting Coach and his performance suffered as a result. Coming up through the minors, Duda would hit to all fields, more of a Sean Casey type hitter than Adam Dunn. Leave the guy alone.
      • Walnutz15 March 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm
        If anything, I’ve seen Hudgens take away any semblance of aggression that Duda exhibited at the plate, in favor of the Mets famous “one size fits all” — this guy is going to be a patient hitter — approach.

        Hudgens needs to ditch that cooky philosophy and realize that some guys just aren’t good deep in a count, and need to do what’s comfortable for them as hitters.

        Just ‘cuz Duda sees more pitches doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to become a better hitter later in a count.

        Let it fly.

  4. Dan B March 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm
    I thought it would be so easy to upgrade the Mets outfield. While so many teams have specific needs (lefty power hitter in RF, leadoff CF, better glove, righty in RF, etc…) the Mets were wide open. Any position. Lefty or righty. Power hitter, on base machine, or speedster. Didn’t matter what because it was going to be an upgrade. Little did I realize the most important quality was salary (silly me). What are the odds for an upgrade in season? How hard will it be to sell not upgrading next offseason when the payroll goes under $40 million?
    • DaveSchneck March 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm
      But, hey, Aldserson has a wad of $1000s in his back pocket, the Wilpons have no personal debt, and the payroll may well return to the $140 mil mark. It’s true, I saw it myself on the internet.
    • Andy March 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm
      Not *just* salary. Supposedly the Mets were offering Bourn more than the Indians did, but subject to resolving the draft pick situation. It seems like Alderson & Co are willing to spend but only if they feel they are getting a real bargain.
      • Dan B March 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm
        Oh please! They offered Bourne a contract Bourne was never going to agree to. The Mets love coming in second place with free agents as if that proves anything.
  5. Ron Davis March 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    What is Don Hahn doing now. Lenny can come out on work ferlow with his ankle bracelt and orange jump suit.
  6. BklynGirl March 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm
    On the morning of opening day Alderson should scout the parking lot looking for a few guys tossing a ball around and offer them the positions! Could it be any worse than what they have now?
  7. ExileInLA March 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm
    Opening Day OF? Well, if the Padres start Volquez (RHP), the OF will probably be Duda-Spin-Byrd. But if Volquez gets messed up in WBC, and they start Richards (LHP), it’s probably Duda-Cowgill-Byrd.

    Lineup vs RHP:
    Spin-Murphy-Wright-Davis-Byrd-Duda-Tejada-Catcher, with Cowgill & Baxter, Turner & Quintanilla (plus backup C) bench.

    Lineup vs LHP:
    Cowgill-Tejada-Wright-Davis-Byrd-Murphy-Duda-Catcher, with Spin to the bench.

  8. Steven A March 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm
    Opening outfiled:

    Duda in Left field because of the hope he can repeat 2011
    Cowgill in center with Validispin getting significant playing time
    Byrd in right because Terry really wants a veteran who has been around, and he is the only position player that fits that bill (Wright is a different case, having only played for the Mets)

    It would not surprise me if the Mets look to trade Murphy early in the season so as to fill in a whole and be able to put Valdespin in at second

    • TheFan March 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm
      I wouldn’t trade Murphy…this could be his breakout year. Spin should be given the RF job…he’s got the swag and will only get better.
  9. The King March 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    Spin in CF? Visions of Juan Samuel, another “OF”-2B, dance in my head.
    • Walnutz15 March 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm
      Can’t say I disagree, King. Valdespin should probably be playing 2B if he’s playing anything, aside from LF.

      The guy I would’ve looked into dealing, probably 3 years ago?


      Can’t wait to see the rust flying off of him, after almost a full Spring of no games.

      Should make for some fun baserunning from him.

  10. TheFan March 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm
    Outfield should be LF Duda, CF Cowgill and RF Spin, with Bryd as a 4th outfielder…Baxter and Kirk back to the minors until they can prove they belong at this level.
  11. BklynCowpoke March 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm
    I believe the Mets will open the season with an outfield consisting of Duda, Cowgill, and Byrd. However, I also believe that by the All-Star break Byrd’s legs will have left him, and Duda’s promise of being a power hitter to contend with will have faded, leaving the Mets with an outfield of Den Decker, Cowgill, and Valdespin by the end of the season.
  12. John Raughley March 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm
    More cowgill in left because denDekker’s superb defense wins center. Byrd in right. Spin and Baxter on the bench. Kirk is a victim of injury and a bad spring and duda is possibly on the outs due to lack of performance. I’ve been high on MDD since they drafted him because of his catch in the CWS a few years back. I’ll take a .250 average with his glove and speed.
  13. Walnutz15 March 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm
    Any reason my comment from around noonish is still in Moderation? (Maybe an IP thing?)
  14. Jose Rodriguez March 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm
    Can I try out? I’m sure at 38 years old now I could make the team over any of those guys!
    • NormE March 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm
      Would love to have you tryout, Jose. But, at 38, you might have a better chance learning to throw the knuckleball.
  15. stu l March 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm
    this outfield is better than last years.Duda over Bay lf.anybody better than Torres cf.Byrd better than Baxter rf. Spin,Cowgill Niueunhuis and Mdd will all become decent major league players.Spin we be a star.Duda will not make it.Baxter forget about it.
  16. Steve Barber March 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm
    I’d like to see the Mets give den Decker a shot. He could be this team’s Rey Ordonez. A glove so good that whatever he can do with the bat is a plus. Den Decker can save runs and hopefully produce enough to stay with the big club. Citi Field was built around the team being defense and pitching oriented. With Den Decker and our crop of young pitching and unreliable bullpen defense up the middle should be the priority. Leave the run producing to Wright and Ike and let den Decker catch the ball. He will add excitement to this team which it badly needs.
  17. Sach25 March 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm
    I would go with The Dude in LF, a platoon of MDD & CC in CF and a platoon of Spin & The Byrd Man in RF. I think Spin is still too raw and not instinctive enough for CF. I want MDD’s mondo D in CF and he can bat 8th with Murph leading off vs. a RHP. Baxter & Capt. Kirk optioned to AAA.
  18. Paul Festa March 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm
    It’s so hard to trust what you see in Spring Training. I thought Kirk was going to be an all-star in March and April, and look what happened.

    I think this is going to be up in the air, not only all spring, but in the early part of the regular season, too.

  19. BadNewsBronson March 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm
    Based upon the performance and production thus far in pre-season, Cowgill and Byrd have all but guaranteed their spots on the Opening Day roster and as starting outfielders. As for V-Spin, his play in camp ranks with that of Cowgill and Byrd, which means not only should he be considered a lock come April 1st but as a potential bat in the starting lineup. The question being echoed through the Mets’ world is whether V-Spin should be considered an option in the OF come game one of the season, particularly in CF? Yes, he should be considered as a candidate for an OF spot.

    The underlining question is if V-Spin were to be granted the job in the OF come Opening Day who should he overthrow? As stated previously, based upon performance, one would think V-Spin would be automatically penciled in for the OF, which would make Duda the odd man looking in. But from all reports, it appears Duda will be granted the LF job. That leaves CF and RF; which leads to the most productive and experienced OF pair in camp—-Cowgill and Byrd—-both capable of manning either position. So if V-Spin were to come away with either CF or RF spot, that would spell Cowgill or Byrd to the bench?

    Why get rid of any productive bats capable of making a lack luster Opening Day roster that much potent? Isn’t this what many were clamoring for, players with the make up of a starter such as Cowgill and Byrd who have showed and proved their worth this spring?

    The best possible scenario would be to have Cowgill and Byrd man the CF and RF positions with V-Spin reserving second base. V-Spin has the glove, athletic ability and bat to handle and excel at second. Also, V-Spin will have limited responsibility at second compared to that of the OF where many consider him a liability. Now you have three potentially productive bats in the starting lineup come Opening Day. If all fails for V-Spin to start out the season, you have either Murph or Turner, if either makes the ballclub, as possible options for starting second base.

  20. Steve March 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm
    Who was it that said Kirk was a .280/25hr hitter? Other than that, I do agree he was the clear favorite a month ago, and cowgill and spin have definitely usurped that, for what It’s worth in March.
  21. Quinn March 12, 2013 at 4:57 pm
    Havent they said they plan on platooning CF/RF if thats the case it would seem Byrd Cowgill Valdespin and Baxter will open be in the OF..MDD is striking out way to much this spring and last year during the secondhalf to seriously be considered.
  22. Nelson Holcombe March 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm
    I believe Matt Den Dekker should get the nod. I have seen this kid play for years and he will hit. He will adjust to the pitching and hit, steal and save runs. How many one run games did the Mets lose over the last few years? His defense can make a big difference.
  23. greensleeves March 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm
    I just discovered your blog and am clearly late to your party. Bravo!– for literate analysis and real perspective.
    I hope Kirk can make a comeback from this most recent injury and bring with it a cure for the hole in his swing.
  24. greensleeves March 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm
    I just discovered your blog and am clearly late to your party. Bravo!– for literate analysis and real perspective.
    • Joe Janish March 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm
      Greensleeves, welcome aboard — glad you found your way here!

      Thanks very much for the kind words, it’s appreciated.

      Looking forward to bantering with you in the future.

  25. Shawn March 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm
    Worst article ever. Valdespin is trash.
    • Hobie March 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm
      Fittingly, worst comment ever.
  26. meticated March 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm
    I will play left…joe janish in right…and a cardboard cutout of Rickie Henderson in center
  27. Metsfan69 March 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm
    You’ve got to be kidding. Valdespin in CF? He’s an infielder. That’s the problem with this Mets team. Too many starters are out of position. I see Valdespin as our future at second base. Trade Murphy!
  28. Tom March 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm
    Regarding Valdespin, I do not think it is fair to look at him exclusively as a 2B or IF and to trade Murphy based on the inclination of Valdy’s early spring results. Even if everything were to go right and everyone stayed healthy and the Mets overachieved, this roster producing a low-80s win total is going to be hard to obtain. Outside of Wright and Davis, Murphy is the most reliable hitter in our line up (and much consistent than Davis). He’s generally healthy and an acceptable defensive 2B too. Valdespin is really only of the same quality defensively as Murph at 2B.
  29. Tom March 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm
    However, although it is unlikely this season, Wilmer Flores likely will assume Murph at 2B, which will lead the Mets to either trade Murph or more likely due to his not-so-great trade value and lack of reliable OF’s, Murphy gets moved out to LF again. Or they try Flores in LF. Neither of which I’m sure would be pretty, but when you’re not expecting to win anytime soon this experimenting is seen more acceptable.
  30. Tom March 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    Of course that depends on who and if someone assumes the LF role this season and next season. I actually see Valdespin’s competition more as Duda than Niewenhuis. I say this for a couple reasons. One, besides being offensively unreliable like Kirk, he is defensively unreliable even in LF. Two, Valdespin is not as good of a defensive CF as Niewenhuis, den Dekker, Cowhill and is probably a tie with Byrd. My point is if they know many of these combinations won’t score runs, a better defensive OF will help prevent giving up runs.

    Despite neither of them originally projecting as starting OF’s, the two OF’s I expect to make the team most are Cowgill and Baxter. Cowgill is consistently proving himself and Baxter’s expected role is more of a lefty bat off the bench than as a platoon player (despite the optomism). He’s proven he’s so good in that role that a bad spring probably won’t bar him from making the team.
    The only way he doesn’t make the team is if Duda produces and is healthy and Valdespin continues to hit.

    Besides those two, Byrd seems next most likely to make the team. After him, I expect them to carry one of den Dekker or Niewenhuis, rather than holding onto all 3 of Duda, Valdy and Baxter.

  31. Tom March 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm
    I could be wrong and probably will be, but my prediction of the Opening Day roster thus far assuming health is…

    1) CF Cowgill 2) 2B Murph 3) 3B Wright 4) 1B Davis 5) RF Byrd 6) LF Valdy 7) SS Tejada 8) Buck

    Bench: Recker, Turner, Quintanilla, Baxter, Niewenhuis

    Rotation: Niese/Harvey/Marcum/Gee/Santana (or Hefner or Mejia)

    Bullpen: Atchinson, Feliciano, Burke, Edgin, Francisco, Lyon, Parnell

    Just for fun, Las Vegas 51s…

    C) d’Arnaud 1B) Satin 2B) Flores SS) Bixler 3B) Lutz LF) Duda CF) den Dekker RF) Hoffman

    Bench: Powell, Havens, Hicks, Paterson, Wilson

    Rotation: Wheeler/Mejia/McHugh/Hefner/Laffey

    Bullpen: Torres/Rice/E. Ramirez/Carson/Hawkins/Familia

  32. BklynGirl March 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm
    The 51s lineup looks better than their big brother.
  33. Nelson Holcombe March 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm
    I like the idea of outstanding defense in a huge outfield like Citi field. Den Dekker can bunt and steal. He hasn’t been asked to bunt in the spring. But I’ve seen him manufacture runs. Even if he isn’t a starter I like him as part of the team.
  34. Monstars March 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    I would choose cowgill and have him leading off. The guy looks to be a spark plug. Not the best but the best spark plug on the mets roster right now. He makes consistent contact and hits it hard. He doesn’t strike out as much as Kirk or spin. I just think he is more prepared for the full time role the the other two. Both Kirk and spin could use more time in the minors to fine tune their approach and become more consistent players. I think cowgill has the potential to surprise a lot of people and actually be a legit piece of this line up.


    I do believe that line up has potential to put up 50 more runs than last years and then it again it has the potential not to.

    Certainly looks better than last years opening day roster


    I’m more confident in my projection than last years lineup.

    • hank happy March 13, 2013 at 12:42 am
      VS left hand pitcher

      VS right hand pitcher

      • hank happy March 13, 2013 at 12:50 am
        if the Mets want to win games i suggest a strict platoon
        Capt.Kirk, the Dude and Mike from White Stone VS RHP and Byrd is the word, CowBell and Red Turn 2 VS LHP but if they want to see what they have and if any of these guys could help the 2014 mets then Cowbell and Capt.Kirk and The Dude have to play every day vs LHP and RHP i think the Mets will split the baby and let the Duda play every day in LF and Platoon RF and CF
  35. Rob March 13, 2013 at 12:21 am
    What’s Don Hahn up to these days? Alright… I choose Pepe Mangual.
    • John March 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm
      How about George “The Stork” Theodore?
      • Joe Janish March 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm
        My vote’s for Mike Vail. Hey, with those three, we have an outfield!
  36. TexasGusCC March 13, 2013 at 12:52 am
    The answer to the question in the title is Cowgill. He is the best option of MLB quality defense and something of a bat. MDD is not ready. Guys like Dunn and Reynolds that strike out alot, also walk alot. MDD is not walking alot and striking out alot because he is getting fooled and thus getting himself out. Players that get themselves out don’t even hit .200. Let the kid learn for a few months.

    In listening to Alderson say he wants to be like the Giants, well, the Giants wouldn’t have a player like Duda in LF. A player so out of position should be hitting in a premium spot to make up for the defense. Duda at 6th or 7th is not worth the defense. Therefore, Duda will play in order to build up a little value as a possible 1B, and be gone with a pitching prospect by July 31 for a real OF.

    While Murphy also seems to fit this template, he can be kept since his defense is passable. However, he needs to hit consistently in order to consider him part of a winning team.

    Lastly, I see a three person CF/RF carousel depending on the pitcher of Byrd, Cowgill, and one of Valdespin/Kirk,Baxter. The fifth OF may very well be Lutz, Turner, or someone not on the roster yet. The Mariners are trying to trade an OF, and Oakland has too many OF on their roster.

  37. Dan B March 13, 2013 at 7:51 am
    At the Oscars, when a star has to go to the bathroom, a nobody dressed in a tux will sit in the open seat so when the cameras show the audience, there are no empty seats. I can’t believe there are over 50 posts arguing over which “nobody seat sitter” should the Mets hire. After all, it would be really embarrassing if the SNY cameras showed an empty centerfield.
    • DaveSchneck March 13, 2013 at 8:19 am
      What would we Met fans do without the internet?
  38. Brian March 13, 2013 at 8:25 am
    I’d really like to see Matt Den Dekker in center. I know his bat has yet to really show up, but the defense he plays has to make up for it. He plays better defense than Kirk, he’s fast and athletic and would be able to cover the Citi Field outfield well. With a slow Lucas Duda to his right and a 35 year old Marlon Byrd to his left, Den Dekkers defense would shine. I think he can hit, and for some pop. IMO, he’s gotta be on the opening day roster
    • Joe Janish March 13, 2013 at 3:34 pm
      If you want a great glove with questionable pop why not just bring back Jeremy Reed or Cory Sullivan?
  39. High class problems March 13, 2013 at 9:43 am
    Seems like there might be more than a few potential answers to the question “what outfield?”
  40. Yazzy March 13, 2013 at 9:43 am
    Cowgill and Byrd might do a centerfield/rightfield tandum. The Mets need a decent fielding defensive outfielder so I would take Baxter as a left handed sub and use Lutz as a righty replacement although he is limited defensively he does have power and just might hit for average. I still say SA should look into trading for Eric Young from Colorado, Emilio Bonifacio from Toronto or Roger Bernadina from the Nats. It has been said all three of these guys may soon be out of options as it looks like they might not make each teams 40 man roster. Young would be a major SA coup if he can reel him in? Bonafacio has speed, plays good defense and has a cannon for an arm, and he is a righty like Young. Hell, I’d even take the left handed Bernadina because he can mash and would be a great upgrade over Duda. Duda is like Mike Pelfrey as he cannot tolerate the stress and scrutiny of playing in NY be is better suited for an American league, west coast team/
  41. Lee March 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm
    Byrd, Valdespin, Duda (R – L)

    Cowgill & Den Dekker as back-ups.

    Maybe call up KN in July if he can manage to not stay injured until then.

    What a mess all around.

  42. FatJack March 14, 2013 at 12:13 am
    You win with pitching and defense. Especially defense up the middle. I don’t care if he can’t hit a lick, I want our best defensive centerfielder on the field. And that’s Matt den Dekker. It’s not like the Mets will be contending this year or next. Let’s put the best glove on the field and see how he handles it. The rest of those also-rans, never-weres, and Quad-A players can fight it out for the corner spots. MDD is the only one of the bunch with major league talent.
  43. LJ... March 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm
    I’d love to see Valdespin in LF, Cowgill & nieuwenhuis in CF/RF and Duda as the odd man out. Valdespin vs Duda power I would say is a wash and Valdy has a flair for the dramatics. Plus, it would give us great speed and defense in the out field.

    The line up is tough though with so many lefties in the batting order…

  44. TexasGusCC March 15, 2013 at 12:37 am
    One person that won’t be a consideration for our centerfield down the road is Carlos Gomez. He just got extended by the Brewers for four years. There’s one less name to consider for 2014 if our current candidates do not impress.
    • Walnutz15 March 15, 2013 at 8:18 am